Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Trade Market: Sellers N.L.

Washington Nationals: The Nationals should be in complete rebuilding mode at this point. They are 27 games back in the N.L. East, and have 10 fewer wins than any other team in baseball. Washington needs to get younger and more talented around the diamond. Outside of Ryan Zimmerman (3B), the Nationals don't have a position player that has a long term future with the club. They have some interesting names, (Dukes, Flores, Morgan, A. Gonzalez) but none of them are sure things. Washington does have some young talent in the pitching rotation to build around.

Top trade targets: Nick Johnson (1B), Joe Biemel (RP), Christian Guzman (SS), Josh Willingham (OF), Adam Dunn (1B/OF)

Analysis: Johnson and Biemel are the most likely to be dealt, because both are impending free agents. Johnson has rebuilt his trade value and should bring back at least one quality prospect. Biemel could bring back a solid prospect as well. Neither player will bring back a stud prospect, but any influx of talent is a bonus for the Nationals. Guzman is signed for an additional year so he could bring back a couple of solid prospects (though the Nats will probably have to kick in some money). I think only one of Dunn/Willingham will be moved this trade deadline. Moving both would upset the fan base too much, as well as hurt an offense that doesn't have replacements for them. I would move Willingham since given his affordable contract more teams will likely be interested. Willingham has also increased his trade value with his production this season, making now a good time to sell high on him. Washington should be able to get a couple of good prospects or bullpen arms in return for Willingham.

Potential Willingham and Guzman deals should have the greatest impact, but all of these players should be moved by August 1st. By moving all of them the Nationals can clear some redundant players, free up payroll and increase the talent and depth of their minor league system.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The Pirates have already started their rebuilding project this year by trading away their opening day CF (Nate McLouth), LF (Nyjer Morgan), and 1B (Adam LaRoche). Also they have moved their top bat off the bench (Eric Hinske) and one of their relievers (Sean Burnett). In return Pittsburgh has gotten younger, and a number of high upside players. They have also saved millions off their payroll, that can now be used to sign draft picks and international free agents.

Top trade targets: Freddy Sanchez (2B), Jack Wilson (SS), John Grabow (RP), Matt Capps (RP), Zach Duke (SP), Paul Maholm (SP)

Analysis: Sanchez and Wilson are one of the best double play tandems in baseball, and they will likely be playing on different teams come August. Sanchez should bring back a pretty good haul for the Bucs. Wilson on the other hand has struggled at the plate reducing his trade value. Grabow is an impending FA, and won't bring back much in return. Capps could bring back a solid package of two good prospects. His contract, age and potential make him a pretty good commodity on the market, but his performance this year has been shaky. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the Pirates move one of their young starters, either Duke or Maholm. I think Duke is more likely to be moved, but the Pirates should gauge the value of each. Duke should bring a pretty good return back since he's under control through 2011. The Pirates are heading in the right direction with the moves they've made so far. They need to keep rebuilding and focusing on building a winning foundation. It might not show in this year's standings, but the future is bright in Pittsburgh.

Other teams looking to sell:

San Diego Padres: The Padres have tried to move Jake Peavey already this season, but with him on the D.L. they will have to wait to the off season to deal their ace. Right now they are saying they won't move Adrian Gonzalez and Heath Bell their two all-star players (though I think they should). I think Kevin Correia (SP) and Kevin Kouzmanoff (3B) are players that the Padres will move by the deadline. Each will bring back a solid return, but nothing near what the Friars would get if they put Gonzalez or Bell on the market.

Arizona Diamondbacks: The D-Backs have already made a couple of trades so far (T. Pena and Felipe Lopez) and will likely make a few more small deals. They have a young nucleus to build around so they won't make any blockbuster deals. I think Chad Qualls (RP) and Doug Davis (SP) are the most likely to be dealt.

Houston Astros: The Astros are only two games out in the N.L. Central, but should favor selling as opposed to buying. The Astros are an older team with little depth, that makes me think they won't be able to win the division or grab the wild card this season. They also have the worst minor league system in baseball, and can't afford the talent to acquire the players they need for a playoff run. The Astros should look to move impending free agents Jose Valverde, Ivan Rodriguez and even Miguel Tejada. Houston needs to add some talent in the minor league system this deadline.


  1. I think that it would be a huge mistake to trade Willingham. Willingham gives the Nationals much needed offensive power, and he is stronger than Dunn in the outfield.

  2. True, but Willingham doesn't have the same appeal to the fanbase. Also, with Nick on the way out, keeping Dunn allows you to have some balance in your lineup.